Sunday, 10 April 2016

Tussock tussle

Mowing the grass yesterday and as I passed a patch of long grass I noticed a flash of white as something was blown out of the grass. On stopping to look saw that it was a bright white moth which was now in the typical defensive position which gave me time to get the camera for some photos.

 The white wings were in stark contrast to the hairy body in the curled position displaying smooth green segments and the tan coloured rear end. 

As it became less defensive I was able to turn it for a photo of the upper surface of the thorax and wings.

It is a moth that I have not seen previously so I was keen to identify it and thought that it could be in the NOCTUIDAE family and there were a couple of white moths that looked similar but not close enough. I then checked the Tussock moths which are in the same super family of NOCTUDIEA, family LYNANTRIIDAE and found two moths that were a much better match, the Omnivorus Tussock Moth Acyphas semiochres and the White Tussock Moth  Acyphas chionitis. However it was extremely difficult to tell from the reference photos so had to do a lot more searching on the web before deciding it was a female of the former and was the most appropriate identification.
It is widespread throughout Australia and the caterpillars feed on a wide range of native trees and shrubs but in South Australia they have become somewhat of a pest in Pinus radiata plantations. 


  1. Moth id can be so trying at times! I can spend hours sometimes on just one moth! Pretty moth and interesting to see it in the defensive position!

    Thanks for offer of advice re: Eucalyptus. Not sure of species but will ask my husband (he may know) and perhaps post photos of trunk, tree and leaves when I do a post (not the next post though on Winterbourne as I already have far too many photos!). Thanks again.

    1. I am seeing a few new moths around at present and doing the ids is taking some time. will be posting a couple more as soon as I have got the ids sorted.
      Hope I can help with the Euc.